When to Visit Ireland

There is no perfect time to visit Ireland, when you choose to come depends on the sort of vacation you want. Let’s look at some of the factors that might influence your decision.

Photo: Umbrellas by Lochinvar1

The Weather

The one thing Ireland can guarantee in terms of weather, whenever you come, is variety!

There can be a run of warm, dry days in February and equally a series of wet ones in July, but in general the best of Irish weather from the point of view of sunshine is in July and August.

Don’t discount late Spring and early Autumn though, as the weather is often very good then and there are, as we shall see, other factors in their favour too.

Statistically there are more hours of sunshine in late May and June than in July and August – though the temperatures will be lower.

This is our DoChara Irish Weather Index – a quick glance view of what to expect from Irish weather at various times of the year.

Chance of Sun Risk of Rain Av Temperature
Nov-March Low-Moderate High 6°C (41°F)
April-June Moderate-High Moderate – High 10-13°C (50-55°F)
July-August High Moderate 15-18°C (55-65°F)
Sept-Oct Moderate -High Moderate-High 10-13°C (50-55°F)

There is much more detail about this on our Irish weather pages.

Day Length

Something that can catch visitors to Ireland by surprise is the shortness of days in the Winter. During December and January in particular this can really curtail the time you have to explore. At the winter solstice, December 21st, you’ve only got about 7 hours of decent light – between about 9am and 4pm – and if the weather is dull and cloudy it can seem like even less.

At most in these months you’ll have light from about 8.30am to 4.30pm and if you are changing locations that can mean driving on unfamiliar roads, in the dark and possibly the rain.

The months either side of this period have longer days, but they are still a good deal shorter than in the summer.

Crowds and Prices

Probably as many as half the tourists who visit Ireland each year come between mid-June and the end of August. The result is that prices for accommodation, car hire and so on are higher and all popular tourist destinations, visitor centres, historical sites etc are more crowded during those months.

Even a week or two can make a difference, so that those who visit in early June or early September are likely to have good weather (by Irish standards!), better value and be less crowded out as they tour.

However there is a reason why July and August are so popular – Ireland on a warm and sunny July day is quite simply heaven on earth and there is nothing to compare with sitting outside a restaurant by the waters edge on a balmy August evening eating fresh local seafood and sipping a pint of Guinness or a glass of good wine.

Festivals and Events

Many of Ireland’s most popular special events and festivals take place outside the peak summer season, and these can be really fun occasions to build a vacation around.

For example in the months of September and October visitors can choose from the Galway Oyster Festival, the Rose Festival in Tralee, Cork International Film Festival, Cork Jazz Festival and the Wexford Opera Festival to name just a few.

Sporting events are also plentiful in Spring and Autumn, with the Rugby 6 Nations competitions taking place in Spring, the finals of the All Ireland Hurling and Football championships in September and lots of horseracing all over the country in both Spring and Autumn.

Your Special Interests

This is a major factor to consider – if you are passionate about museums or architecture, then really it is immaterial when you come, but if golf is your big thing weather will be an important factor in your choice.

Yep, with Ireland it keeps coming back to weather somehow! The upside is that if you are interested in photography, there is no bad time to visit – the constantly changing weather always present great photo opportunities.

Article updated: April 30, 2017

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